Photo by Todd Coleman
Japanese Beef Curry from Scratch
By Harris Salat, The Japanese Food Report and The Japanese Grill
This recipe comes from Nobuko in the Chiba Prefecture of Japan. When I made this curry, I also cooked up a batch from a packaged curry mix, so I could compare the taste. My wife and a friend from Tokyo joined me for this little experiment. It amazed us all how much better the scratch version tasted, so delicious. And the scratch curry looked so much more appealing, sans thickeners and stabilizers. So I urge you to cook curry from scratch yourself!! (Make a monster batch and freeze the leftovers, they reheat well.) Here’s Nobuko’s recipe:
Note about the recipe: I’m using metric weight measurements, instead of volume; so much easier. I highly recommend you buy a digital scale, which always has metric (this one rocks). Every home cook should own a decent scale.
300 grams beef (brisket is great, but you can also try short ribs or other cuts), cut into bite-sized cubes
Salt and pepper for the beef
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
400 grams onions, sliced as thin as possible
10 grams ginger, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into wedges, rangiri style
1 large apple, peeled and coarsely grated
5 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon salt
300 grams new potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
For the roux:
4 tablespoons butter
7 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons curry powder (I use Japanese S&B curry powder, but a Madras curry powder is fine, too)
2 tablespoons garam masala
1. Season the beef with salt and pepper.
2. Melt the butter in a stockpot large enough to hold 5 quarts of liquid, over medium heat. Add the onions, ginger, garlic, carrots and beef. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes until the onions become translucent and the beef browned. Add the apple, beef stock and salt, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile make the roux. In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the flour. Stir, stir, stir, stir, stir until the butter and flour fuse and swell. Don’t stop stirring, or the roux will burn! After about 20 minutes or so, the roux will become the “color of a fox,” as they say in Japan, a deep tan color. At this point, add the curry and garam masala, and cook and stir for 30 seconds, until the spices release their aroma. Turn off the heat. Add a ladleful or two of cooking liquid from the stock and mix into a paste.
4. Add the roux paste into the stockpot, and stir to combine. Add the potatoes. Simmer uncovered on low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 1 hour, or until the beef becomes tender and the curry thick. Serve the curry with Japanese short grained rice on the side. Enjoy.